It has nothing to do with the ARM industry and it was a fax that started what you’re about to read and not a phone call, but what a New Jersey business owner is going through offers a cautionary tale for anyone who is open to be sued for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Gene Kalsky owns a wholesale pipe and plumbing business called Gen-Kal Pipe and Steel Corp. To promote his business, Kalsky has been sending faxes promoting his prices and products for 10 years to business across the country. He says he has always followed the letter of the law, obtaining consent from the recipients of his faxes before he sends them.
A company in Arkansas filed a class-action lawsuit against Kalsky and his company back in 2015, claiming he violated the TCPA by sending the fax without the company’s permission. Kalsky did not attend the hearing nor did he send an attorney to represent himself. A single fax from Gen-Kal was entered into evidence and a judgment of $500 was awarded. While Kalsky says he responded to the lawsuit, what he did not respond to was a request that he admit to having sent 25,000 faxes to Arkansas residents as part of the class action. Because he did not respond to that request, a default judgment was entered against Kalsky and Gen-Kal for $12.5 million — a $500 fine for each of the 25,000 supposed violations.
Gen-Kal filed for bankruptcy protection, but because he was personally named in the suit, Kalsky himself is being held liable. His house, valued at $3 million, is due to be sold at a sheriff’s auction tomorrow.
Kalsky has hired lawyers in New Jersey, Arkansas, and Washington, D.C., to help him fight to keep his house and what assets he has left.